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Ordinary decency survives – even on the West Bank

How can a bus crash produce good news?

On a rainy night in late January, a public bus filled with Israeli Jews plunged down a ravine near a West Bank Palestinian village. The driver and one of his passengers died, but many others were trapped in the wreckage. A courageous Palestinian family — four men and three women — heard the crash, called for help and rushed down the steep ravine to save lives.

Israeli authorities rightfully praised the family for its “determination and humanity.” They represent the ordinary decency that somehow survives, despite decades of conflict. Most Americans don’t know it, but West Bank Palestinians have enjoyed a huge recent building boom and a sharp rise in health and education standards, with statistics among the very best anywhere in the Arab world.

Media provide lavish coverage whenever something goes wrong, but tend to ignore day-to-day the progress, hard-work and cooperation by ordinary families — Palestinian as well as Israeli.

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